Ono Island is far from the East Coast of US, it is a long trip, but all the trouble of getting there was well worth it. All arrangements and domestic travel in Fiji were very easy to make with Danielle and all diving-specific questions were promptly answered by Jason.
After our Twin Otter landed at Kadavu “airport” and we got on 1.5 hour boat ride to Ono the real Fiji had begun. The scenery that surrounded us for two weeks was absolutely breathtaking. Being the only guests at Mai Dive for the most of our stay and diving in absolutely pristine waters of Astrolabe Reef without seeing another dive boat in two weeks (except a live-aboard once with three people on board) was the best dive vacation we had in 23 years of diving.
The resort itself is remote, quiet, small but comfortable with total capacity of 8 guests. It is facing east and I made a point of getting up every day before sunrise to observe absolutely incredible sky colors. There are no luxuries, but everything we needed was there. Every morning by the time we finished breakfast our bure was made up with fresh flowers on the bedspread and in the bathroom adding a very nice touch. Mai Dive is barefoot resort, in two weeks we did not wear shoes even once.
Two of us were pretty lucky to be the only guests and that allowed us to experience undivided friendliness of the local staff to the fullest. Resort managers Claudia and Hank who were our only company simply do not have the word “no” in their vocabulary. Food was as fresh as it could be with daily catch for lunch and /or dinner, vegetables from their garden and presentation of the five star restaurants.
Mai Dive has three boats with one more allegedly coming soon. Two of them are rather small and simple, good for two-three divers, and the third is bigger, adequate for 6-8 divers. We were diving from the bigger boat most of the time. Back roll is the way to get in the water, but the exit ladder is the only complaint I have. Who in his right mind would design the dive ladder with round rungs is beyond me. Climbing that ladder with bare feet and full weight of dive gear was so painful that we immediately opted for taking everything off in the water. That made the ladder more tolerable.
As for the diving, this was absolutely the best we ever had. Granted, it was our first real dive time in the Pacific and the area around Ono is absolutely pristine. The area is mostly unexplored since Mai Dive is the only operation that dives there. Visibility was variable between great and not so great. Sharks were present on most dives, mostly white tips and black tips; huge eagle rays once; tuna, turtles were less frequent. The underwater environment is unbelievable; everything is covered in multicolor corals, walls, swim-throughs, bomies. No dive site looks like another. Surface intervals were on wonderful beaches and were long enough to allow for enough rest and long second dive. Sewa was our dive master whose local knowledge of the surroundings above and below the surface was simply amazing.
We went snorkeling with mantas twice. First time was absolutely unreal: one manta of a small airplane size and another a bit smaller were just as curios about us as we were about them. This is their cleaning station in very shallow water and they hang around for quite some time. The second time we did not see any. We did not do any other activities offered by Mai Dive opting for an after-lunch hammock, book and a nap (when there was no lawn mowing).
These two fabulous weeks of staying and diving with Mai Dive have created one question in our minds: how will we get back to Caribbean diving after this?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Remote Adventurous Pristine Fijian Resort on Ono Island in Kadavu Fiji. The closest resort to the Great Astrolabe Reef. All facilities are new and absolute beachfront. Eco Resort with solar power, fresh water spring, vegetables garden & fresh seafood. PADI Certified dive operator & plenty of non dive activities. Maximum of 14 guests, as this is a low key relaxed family run resort. Fantastic facilities and even better food with full board included - come and stay with us a while..... ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mai Dive - Astrolabe Reef Hotel Kadavu Island
- Mai Dive - Astrolabe Reef Resort Fiji/Ono Island